Target training has been used for years in animal training. From dolphins, to lions, to dogs, it is a great exercise to stimulate an animal. You can use the following information to help you teach your dog (or cat!) to target. The possibilities of what you can develop this skill into are endless!
Start by scenting your hand, or an item of choice. A “target stick” is used by some while teaching targeting foundations. A target stick is often a stick with a ball at the end of it. You may use any item, however. Encourage your dog to investigate the scent. Once thier nose touches, say the command “touch,” while simultaneously rewarding. Repeat this until the dog is spontaneously touching regularly. Once your dog is offering the behavior, you may begin to use the “touch” command before you expect it.
Where to go from here? You can transfer your targeting to various items, once your dog understands the exercise. Tell your dog “touch” while your hand is near the light switch to guide them into turning the lights on and off for you. (Say “lights,” or something of the nature once he touches the panel, to associate a new command with the task.) You may also teach your dog to close doors, answer the (corded) phone, or even spin in circles to a moving target. The possibilities are endless!
Have fun, and be creative with targeting this summer. It is a great mentally-stimulating activity that is good to practice indoors on hot days!
Posts Tagged ‘challenge’
I received a call on Thursday afternoon, the day before the WPBTCA National Championship was supposed to start. It’s a Friday-Sunday event, and I had been looking forward to it for a while- catching up with old friends, people involved in dog sports, meeting new people. The phone call was from the club’s president, stating that the Championship may be cancelled. Why? Because the flight with our main “open” competitor would not allow her dog. It was scheduled in advance, they knew the size of the dog and crate, but now, before boarding the plane, she was notified that her dog was “too big”. The only other flight out of her area was going to cost well over $1000 at this point, too.
So, what now? I don’t think we can cancell- we have other people coming from out of town. Sure, we can inform the people that we know are coming, but we can’t possibly tell everybody. Setting up a weekend seminar is a possability. . .or. . .well, I was asked to promise to never make our club president watch my dog track again. Turns out he was willing to overlook it so that we could have some dogs show at the event. SO. . .without much in the form of preparation (we track and do obedience weekly), my 10-year-old retired dog is dusted off and entered. We have a couple other locals that are able to do the same. The show will go on!
Turns out Esco wasn’t too shabby. It was probably his best tracking and obedience performance I’ve seen in a while, and although we had a few control problems during protection (we hadn’t trained in over a year) he still gave us enough to earn another title, AWD3. Good boy! I can thank K-9 Kraving for his good health and agility at this age. Who else knows a 10-year-old dog that can jump a 1-meter jump without touching and scale a 6-foot wall with ease??! We were certainly thankful for a good showing and accomplishments for the weekend, even though we hadn’t planned an entry.
So, what happened to our competitor? She routed us on from California, and has decided to boycott Southwest! I would too, after that. As a matter of fact, I will.
Now, we didn’t enter in the events to qualify for the National Champion title this year. (As some of you may know, Esco was the WPBTCA National Champion for 2009.) He definitely didn’t have the juice for ALL that would have been required for that. Okye and Torque take the title for 2010. New competitors Noelle and Diesel take the Novice Champion title, and Will and Action take the Novice Vice Champion title. What a great showing! It was a pleasure to see everybody’s dogs in action. To view pictures of the event, please visit the club’s Facebook album, here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=281211&l=714ed62c8c&id=285509266881
Next year’s Championship should be in California. If you couldn’t make it this year, hopefully we’ll see you there!
As a trainer, I work with dogs that come from all places- both reputable and backyard breeders, rescues, shelters, strays, and more. I take them all, work with them all, and love them all. I accept the dogs and the owners for who they are. Working with many rescues, I encounter a lot of individuals who have very strong feelings against breeding dogs. They would prefer to be out of business, having no more homeless animals to save. Of course breeders feel justified in their actions and beliefs as well- this goes for both reputable and backyard breeders, as often the backyard breeders don’t know who they are, unfortunately. As we all know: everybody’s dog is the best dog in the world!
My question to all of you is this: Is there a middle ground?
As a working dog person, I prefer a purebred and intact dog to work with. I have never bred my dogs, and I don’t intend to. However, when I work a dog in the sport that I choose (Schutzhund), I prefer the uninterrupted drives of an intact dog that is specifically bred for a purpose. I also prefer the muscle development of intact dogs for such an athletic sport. Yes, I’ve successfully competed with spayed/neutered rescue dogs as well. It’s my preference, and I do see a difference. I also participate in rescue. Although I only contribute to the population by adding occasional demand, I find it both important and rewarding to assist in rescue efforts. Personally, I believe that anybody who adds to the population in any way- whether that be breeding or seeking a purebred dog, should assist in rescue as well. It really is important to see both sides!
Now, this doesn’t mean that a typical family that purchases a purebred dog for the children needs to go out and adopt a rescue as well. Anybody can help, and there are a number of ways. Volunteering at a rescue or shelter can be a great help to them, and very rewarding to you. Donations are always welcomed, too- money, bedding, collars and leashes are all helpful. Of course, if you do feel compelled to take in a rescued life, foster and forever homes are always needed!
Take time today to consider what you can do to help your local animals in need. A few local all-breed shelters are:
The puppies in the picture above are available for adoption once they have been fully vetted and spayed/neutered. Please contact Mid Atlantic Bully Buddies for details: MABB
As some may know, in addition to running Mutt Magic full time, I also attend school full time. I try to not allow idle time for my brain, and I like to remain challenged. As my summer semester is finishing up, my professor had us analyze the class, which led me to an important realization! People will meet you where you have set your expectations, and will be enriched and grow when they are challenged. Wow. I suppose this is something that we all know, but may not take the time to think about. The next thing the professor asked us was how we would apply this in life.
When I thought of this, I also thought of formerly being that unchallenged employee that used to sit around and email my friends or play computer games. I definitely do NOT have time for that now- nor do I have a desire to be unproductive or to fill time with meaningless things. The next thing I thought of was how to prevent unproductive behavior from current and future employees. I’m lucky to be in a business that naturally provides an enriching environment, but that’s not to say that people don’t need to be challenged! In the past, I’ve found myself thinking about how easy teaching a basic group obedience class is, and there will come a point where my employees will feel the same way. So, what’s next?? Well, that will be different for each person, depending on their strengths. But, it will be my goal to provide a challenge.
I’ll finish by stating that I overall believe school to be a necessary evil. I don’t typically have respect for many college professors, because most of them never actually have made it in the “real world” that they’re trying to prepare students for. For example, I don’t like to be told about business by someone who has never run one, etc. With all of that said, while the above referenced class was not about productivity, this was something very valuable that I was able to take away!